The Kuskokwim River Watershed Council has trainings this week in Bethel about water quality. Monday through Wednesday, presenters taught how to identify invasive plant species that have made it to Alaska. Now, about two-dozen IGAP students are learning about preparing a Water Quality Assurance Program Plan for their tribes and villages. listen to story here
The Indian Environmental General Assistance Program, or IGAP, is the environmental branch of Indian and Alaskan Tribal Governments in the United States. The twenty or so students from the Kuskokwim and Yukon heard a lecture by Katie Spellman, who works for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Department of Biology and Wildlife Education and Outreach.
Spellman says there are different reasons to be concerned with water quality, “drinking water is impacted, or if you’re concerned about the fish habitat, your subsistence food source.”
Spellman spoke about taking water samples to be analyzed for temperature, P-H levels, oxygen and conductivity. “the date, when you sampled it, the time, also the site, name and location” says Spellman are very important.
She says it’s very important to handle and take water samples consistently every single time, and that the testing equipment be accurately calibrated.
Kuskokwim River Watershed Council Director John Oscar, says a lot of people helped to put on the weeklong training session. “ I wish to thank folks that have been really helpful in providing scholarships to tribes, to attend the invasive and water quality training,”
Oscar added with humor, “it was funny at first, they were going to give me the check, ya, we were kind of reluctant to give this to you, but ya I thought it was good, (laughter) ya, it was great, I liked it, but I would like to thank Donlin for providing scholarships for tribes.”
The IGAP students will train through Friday.